Marvin Miller Should Have Been in the Hall of Fame While Alive
It just makes a big joke of the Baseball Hall of Fame that Marvin Miller is not in there. Whether you like the results that he brought into the game or not, he was a huge figure in the middle of the breakthrough years for the players association where they broke out from the yoke of slavery to the MLB, then turned it all around with arbitration and free agency. That is everlasting fame that the Hall of Fame should not and cannot deny. Shame on the Hall of Fame for not putting him in while he was alive, he lived to 95 for gosh's sake and he battle liver cancer the past few years as well, so it wasn't like people didn't know it wasn't coming, if not just for the age, but the disease. That he died without getting in - in fact, he was bitter about this and said in recent years that he would turn down the honor if it were to finally be given to him - is a blot on anyone who had a hand in keeping him out.
Barry Bonds Should Be Voted In First Ballot
Bonds could be the next embarrassment for the Hall and the baseball writers. McGwire has already gone through the gauntlet and survived enough to stay on the ballot. But he really was more like Dave Kingman than he was an Hall of Famer, in my mind, so he was not a real test of the fervor of the writers about steroids, as even without that stain, given the boost in homers in that era, he should have been borderline anyway.
Two things make Bonds a different case. First and most of all, he already had a no-doubt Hall of Fame career when he was suspected to start taking steroids. Whether he willingly took the drug or was tricked into it by his friend/trainer, I don't think we'll ever know the full story, but either way it looks pretty sure that he took the stuff. However, most agree that he already had Hall of Fame career stats when he reportedly started taking. So a non-vote for him represents punishment by those writers for him taking the drug, in spite of his achievements prior to using.
Second of all, it is still not all that publicly clear what taking steroids does for a baseball player. Many claims are being made by writers and fans. Plus, baseball is a different sport, where finesse and form is more important than physical strength, though strength helps if you already have the skills.
But the evidence, as gathered by famed sabermetrician Eric Walker, of The Sinister Firstbaseman fame and the A's internal Bible fame, suggests that it was a juiced ball, not juiced humans, that powered the Homer era of 1993-2008, and on top of that, his research shows that steroids does not do anything to help improve performance in baseball. Assuming this is true - I have not had the time to exhaustively read all the citations, but I have read through the website - I will quote one of his ending statements:
There seems little point in "punishment" for an effect-less "crime".To me, it seems like the writers want to do this to absolve themselves of the fact that they did NOTHING all those years to investigate when it was so obviously happening. And I'm throwing into this their shame for letting amphetamines stay in the game for over 50 years when it was happening all over the clubhouse, in fact, Krukow said in his morning KNBR show today that the team's trainer was OPENLY HANDING THEM OUT when he came up to the majors in the mid-70's. In any case, in my mind, steroids does not help a player hit better, muscle power is not how homers are hit, for if it were, skinny Hank Aaron (when he started) would have never gotten the career record.
The Hall of Shame
The Hall of Fame is not supposed to be used as a form of punishment. But that is what happened to Marvin Miller, making him bitter about it in his last days. It could and probably will happen to Barry Bonds, as well as Clemens, who is also clearly a Hall of Famer (Sosa, I can go either way, but he was also caught corking too, I would note, and he was another one-note freak like Dave Kingman; I would have to look at his career with more detail).
Which is all the shame because the writers do not know beyond a shadow of a doubt that steroids helped players. If they would just, you know, maybe be a journalist, research the topic, starting with Walker's great website, they might realize that there was a lot of hand waving and sermonizing (and demonizing) happening with regards to steroids.
What if Bonds usage was more akin to placebo using than performance enhancing? For if they think that they got egg on their face for not facing the steroid era head-on, from the moment that stuff was found in McGwire's locker for all to see (really, not one enterprising reporter thought to follow-up and investigate that one? Gary Hart would sure would have had a different career in that case), imagine how bad it will look if they held out Bonds on high moral grounds that proved to be quicksand? If all Walker presents is true, then Bonds is guilty of taking snake oil medicine or leeches, neither of which helps a player avoid a strikeout (which he did to great extremes) or hit a baseball well.
I have placed these Walker links in various places in the cyberspace, particularly websites that is known to draw a lot of readers, like The Hardball Times and Fangraphs. I would frankly be very surprised if at least one reporter has not see the links before, not that I'm that full of ego, but I cannot imagine that the journalism profession has degenerated down so much that they do not even read baseball websites like these. And I don't think that it is a coincidence that after years of me putting my performance box on the side, showing the team's record when a certain number of runs are scored or given up, I have started seeing this type of stat noted in the press as well. Reporters do read websites.
So why isn't the press showing the other side of this issue? Why not expose the demagoguery around this topic? Maybe Walker got it wrong, but why not at least tackle the issue since people are making so many decisions and judgments based on possibly false "facts"? And if he is correct, then it would be a huge scoop on their fellow sports writers, that person would gain a lot of fame for exposing the Emperor's New Clothes regarding steroids and bringing it to the public. Yet nothing so far.
Amphetamines Was the True Difference Maker
To me, if anything, amphetamines was a bigger blot on baseball records than steroids. It allowed players to play at their standard level of play, instead of being too tired to perform at that level. That greatly affected all career records set in the last 60 years or so, since World War II brought that drug into common usage. It is like caffeine (a legalized form of stimulant, I would add, so nobody is clean in my mind if you drink coffee or any cola drink), only better. Where is the outrage for that? Particularly since a number of players were exposed to have used the drug as far back as the 1960's, when Jim Bouton's book, Ball Four, came out and talked about the Yankee's drug use.
And sportswriters must have known about it. Again, Bouton's book exposed it and yet no enterprising journalist thought to investigate this illegal drug use (perhaps because many of them were using themselves). And reporters probably took them too when they were in the field reporting on World War II, someone somewhere must have known that usage would have gotten into baseball as well, tie the links.
Pete Rose Should Be In Too
And, in any case, the Hall of Fame does not exist to punish people, it is to honor the accomplishments that a person has made that made baseball what it is today. That is why I think Shoeless Joe and Pete Rose should belong in the Hall too, especially Mr. Hustle, he may have gambled but the proof is only when he was a manager, and I also can't imagine that he would ever bet against himself or his team if he had done it as a player (and there appears evidence that Shoeless Joe was just a witless participant, particularly given that he hit .375/.394/.563/.956 in that series that he supposedly "threw").
Nobody drives themselves relentlessly, particularly without much pure baseball talent - Rose was a mostly modestly skilled player - and then throw a game. He didn't achieve greatness throwing games, I think that would be impossible to do, a guy like him don't do that on a part-time basis, either you believe or you don't, and he believed in himself and pushed himself to greatness. You can't do that part-time.
And even if he could, he's still the LEADER IN HITS ALL-TIME. How do you keep that out of the Hall, even if he did do the unthinkable and bet against himself like a psycho, he still had more hits than anybody else in baseball history. It is not a real Hall of Fame if the hit leader is not in there. Instead, it is a Hall of Shame for all and any participants in the decision to keep Marvin Miller out, Pete Rose out, and, most probably, Barry Bonds out. If ethics were so important, then they should retroactively throw out all the racists and other person with vices that is not palatable now, that is how the Olympics does it when they re-award competitions. It would be hypocrisy not to.